4K Deaths In 20 Years: Odisha Demands Lightning To Be Declared ‘Natural Disaster’

Bhubaneswar: With lightning strikes having reportedly claimed over 4,000 lives in Odisha in the last 20 years, the state government has submitted a proposal to the Centre demanding that it should be declared as ‘natural disaster’.

Lighting was declared a state-specific disaster in April 1, 2015.

Revenue and Disaster Management minister Pramilla Mallick on Wednesday said that an Union Minister has assured that the Centre will look into the matter. “The state government is providing an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh to a family of  lightning strike victim. If lightning is included in the list of natural disasters, the bereaved family will get enhanced compensation as per the existing provisions,” she said.

In its proposal, Odisha maintained that 12 persons were killed in extreme thunderstorms and lightning activities across Odisha on September 2. The highest number of four deaths was reported from Khurda district, while two were from Balangir and one each from Angul, Boudh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, and Puri districts. Three persons from Khurda, 8 from Balangir and one each from Cuttack, Angul and Ganjam also sustained injuries in the lightning strikes. Eight cattle casualties were also reported from Gajapati and Kandhamal districts.

Odisha was hit by 39,392 lightning strikes on September 2. Maximum strikes of 4,852 were in Khurda district followed by Cuttack (3,070), Boudh (2,560), Nayagarh (2,454) and Balangir (2,378), the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) said on Tuesday.

According to the ‘Annual Thunderstorm Report 2022-23’ by the Climate Resilient Observing System Promotion Council, Madhya Pradesh  recorded the highest cloud-to-ground lightning strikes followed by Maharashtra, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

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